Elevating existing relations to new heights and marking the start of a new era of neighbourly understanding and close cooperation between both organizations, the contingent of 42 Indian Army Special Force troops (5 officers and 37 other ranks), successfully, completed the training ‘Exercise - Mithra Shakthi’ on Sunday (23), together with a corresponding Sri Lankan contingent of 300 Special Forces and Commandos, and a few Navy and Air Force personnel after formal briefings and a closing ceremony at Magampura International Convention Centre.
The ‘Exercise - Mithra Shakthi’, an initiative, designed largely by the Indian Army was the successful outcome of the ‘Annual Defence Dialogue’ (ADD) that was co-chaired in Colombo early October by both Mr R.K Mathur, Indian Defence Secretary and Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary to Ministry of Defence and Urban Development.
Sunday's concluding ceremony saw both Major General Mano Perera, Commander, Security Force Headquarters-Central and the Head of the Indian contingent, Brigadier General G. Sudhakar, Deputy Director General Military Operation exchange goodwill plaques and warm greetings after all participants were awarded special certificates.
Both Sri Lankan and Indian Military leaders addressed the gathering and evaluated the Exercise in retrospect, elaborating on the outcome and experience of both sides as is the practice in such de-briefing. Several invitees, including the Defence Adviser in the High Commission of India, Director Operations and acting Director Training at Army Headquarters, were present at Magampura, Hambantota for the ceremony on Sunday (23).
The Exercise, meant purely to share knowledge and experience between Special Operation Forces of both Sri Lanka and Indian Armies through enhancement of interoperability, joint efforts and mutual exchange of Special Operation tactics, saw its implementation on the directions of the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake during three weeks.
168 officers and other ranks from Sri Lanka Army Special Forces and Commando Regiment, accompanied by 16 officers and other ranks from Sri Lanka Navy and 16 officers and other ranks from Sri Lanka Air Force, together with all 42 Indian Army Special Force troops, participated in the Exercise.
The modalities for the three-week long Exercise have been closely coordinated through the Directorate of Army Training at the Army Headquarters in consultation with the corresponding authorities.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to this effect, was signed between Captain Prakash Gopalan, Defence Adviser, High Commission of India and Brigadier Jayantha Guneratne, Director Training, Sri Lanka Army on Thursday (30) at the Army Headquarters in the presence of Major General Sumedha Perera, Director General General Staff, representing the Commander of the Army.
In the aftermath of the ADD, held in January 2012, a Sri Lankan contingent of 48 service personnel, took part in a similar Exercise in New Delhi, India at the invitation of the Indian Army.